The goal of the project, “A Comprehensive Response to the Opioid Epidemic” is to reduce opiate-related overdoses and deaths in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Its strategies for accomplishing this goal are to make naloxone consistently available to trained first responders and other individuals who are most likely to encounter people with opioid use disorder; and strengthen the infrastructure that supports this targeted naloxone distribution and that directly connects people who have suffered overdose to treatment and recovery supports.
The project will serve an estimated 12,000 individuals over four years (2,000 per year, through reversals and 1,000 per year through outreach, education and training). The Allegheny County Health Department (applicant) will target high-risk areas of the county and people who have had an opiate-related overdose. It is therefore expected that the demographic profile of the overdose victims the project serves will mirror that of overdoses in the county to date (male, between the ages of 24 and 34, living in neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty). In addition to these characteristics, close to 40% of the population will have been detained in the county jail and used publicly-funded behavioral health services.
To achieve its goal, the project relies upon the close collaboration that exists in Allegheny County among local governments, first responders, peers, members of community organizations, county-based Centers of Excellence (COEs), and university researchers. With this network of partners, the county will achieve these measurable objectives:
• Reliably distribute naloxone to the current 71 municipal police departments who are part of the county’s network and an additional 35 police departments.
• Reliably distribute naloxone to an additional 15 of the county’s EMS departments, located in hot spot communities, for their “leave-behind” use with overdose victims and family members/friends.
• Reliably distribute naloxone to at least 50% of the county’s fire departments.
• Reliably distribute naloxone to at least 20 community organizations to outfit outreach staff in hot spot communities.
• Train community members in targeted areas who will be using naloxone in the value and use of naloxone, how to track and report to ACHD on its use, and in the referral system that links individuals and families with COEs and other recovery resources.
• Ensure that the Centers of Excellence or other treatment and recovery resources are serving the individuals who have had a reversal of overdose due to opioids.
• Complete the development of the county’s infrastructure needed to support these objectives.